Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks's interview
by Jerome Allemand - March 2003

 

Did you write a lot of songs before entering in the studio for this new album "Hittin' the note" ?
Derek : Yes, we had many ideas and there were no problems for us to get all the material we needed for this album.
Warren : It's been a team work, many songs were co-written, some of them by Gregg and myself, others with our bass player, Oteil. "Instrumental Illness" is an example of this collaboration. In fact, there was a really great atmosphere between all of us. Most of the work is on this album but there's still a few ideas left for the moment....
Derek : But they're nor that far, they're floating around (laughs).

So we won't have to wait nine more years to get back an other album ?
Warren : I hope not... (laughs)
Derek : If it has to be in nine years, I guess it won't be with this lineup (laughs).

It seems you found the perfect alchemy between the two of us. What did you learn from each other ?
Warren : In fact we know each other for such a long tile, twelve years I believe...
Derek : Yes I think so...
Warren : The first time we met was in '89, 1990 more exactly, so it's been 13 years. We were used to play with each other, not in the same band, each one had his band, but we often jammed together on stage, so we got a real good idea of how we could play together. When we entered the studio, things rooled perfectly.

Warren, your return with the Allman Brothers came kinf od naturally and naturally, there had to be a studio album ?
Warren : Yes, Allen passed away back in 2000 and Gregg called me a few months later to invite me on stage with them. Then, everything happened the perfect way and pretty fast after the Beacon Theater, two years ago. To our own surprise, the music was there and I believe each one of ous thought there was such a long time we hadn't come with a new studio album that we kind of felt it was the perfect time. You know, when I came back, I realized the music was great and the atmosphere in the band was great. Wh just had to write new songs.

You recorded two covers,"Woman across the river" form Freddy King and "Heart Of stone" from the Rolling Stones, why did you choose those two songs ?
Warren : we were used to play the Freddy King song on stage. We first didn't think of getting it on tape but it's a good song and the crowd loves this one. This song is perfect for Gregg's voice. For the Rolling stones's one, we tried it back in 1995 but it wasn't good at all...
Derek : We set upon this song (laughs)
Warren : Yes I believe we tried it for at least thirty times but we couldn't get something good with it. But for this new album, I really wanted to give a second chance to this song and we succeded, I guess. I've always thought this cut was great, the singing is great and Derek's slide parts are fabulous.
Derek : I think it's one of the songs I like the most.

You recorded some performances at the Beacon Theater for a new dvd I guess.
Derek : In fact, we recorded two nights and I think the dvd is scheduled for next year, I'm not sure.
Warren : I believe they'ld like to release it for Christmas time.

Regarding new releases, did you, Warren, think of having a new volume, the third, of the "deep end" for Gov't Mule ?
Warren : I don't think so. Many people ask me this question but what we're gonna do is recording a line album which we're gonna call "the deepest end" and it will close the chapter. There should be twelve guest bass players or so. We 're gonna record during the jazz festival down in New Orleans. There's still so many bass players we'ld to play with but we have to finish this adventure...
Derek : It could be an endless adventure.
Warren : Yes, "The Deep End Volume 12 " (laughs)

Are you gonna come and play in France ?
Derek : Tomorrow ! (laughs). We'ld really like to come.
Warren : Yes I think we can lake it with our own band, Gov't Mule or the Derek Trucks band, but not now because of war.
Derek : Yes because of all that mess... (laughs)
Warren : But with the Allman Brothers we could make it as we only came twice, in the 70's and in the 90's.
Derek : I'ld also really like to go and play in Japon. We've been asked for so many times and even if it's only for food, I love it (laughs)
Warren : Yes and in France, I believe food is not that bad either (laughs).
Derek : Yes that's true.
Warren : Well, as we now work with Sanctuary Records, a european label, i believe there'll be more opportunities that there were in the past.

You recently released "American University 12/13/70", only available at your shows and on the website, when are you gonna release a new album ?
Derek : I believe the next time will come out in a couple of weeks or so. By the way, it's a good thing the band could get back the tapes from Washington, they smoked at that show.
Warren : Yes, there are great things and I know there are still some tapes which should be interesting. In fact, everything recorded back then was kind of magic.

Which musicians didn't you play with and you'ld like to ?
Derek : There are hundreds of them even if I had the chance to play with legends such as BB King but there really are a lot of musicians I'ld to play with. I think it's also the case for Warren.
Warren : Yes, it's always a great pleasure to play with these people when we think we played with Bob Dylan for example. How old were you when you got to play with him ? fourteen or so ?
Derek : I believe I was eleven or twelve. That was a great experience.
Warren : We played with so many great acts such as John Lee Hooker but there are still many of them I'ld like to play with. Each time I'm in Chicago, I try to get someone new every night. But we also got the opportunity of being invited to work on somebody else's album. There are occasions you can't refuse laughs).

Do you listen to a lot of music or not ?
Warren : There's always music around.
Derek : This is somethin we need as our music is based on improvisation, we don't always play the same thing on the same songs every night. So we can get new ideas.
Warren : You don't evolve if you don't listen to new music. For example, it takes me one hour to come back home after playing the "Beacon Theater", and I listen a jazz radio in my car. Sometimes, I hear something and I say to myself "I'm gonna try this tomorrow".

You're gonna play thirteen shows this year et the "Beacon Theater". Don't you think you could have played more shows ?
Derek : May be but I think thirteen is enough, it's quite a lot. As far as I'm concerned, I could play more but I think we'll only play eight of them next year.
Warren : Yes New York is a physical town and it asks a lot of energy.

Regarding the production of the new album, Warren, you worked with Michael Barbiero. Is he a member of the family ?
Warren : Let's say he's a member of the family and also a member of the Gov't Mule's one. Derek also knew him and we worked perfectly with him for the Allman Brothers Band. He's such a great human being and a great engineer. And you know, a good producer has to be a chameleon, he has to be able to adapt to every situation.
Derek : He found our sound and his work was remarquable. It was a pleasure to work with him, we learned a lot.

Are there musical styles you'ld like to incorporate in the Allman Brothers's music ?
Warren : We already incorporate many styles. May be abit more of classic jazz or some oriental sounds as Derek does with his own band but who knwos...
Derek : I din't think it is necessary. The band has its own sound, there is a lot of freedom in the Allman Brothers. So there are some limits. If not, it wouldn't be the Allman Brothers anymore. But we got many ideas for the new album and we'll see what happens.
Warren : Anyway, the sound of the Allman Brothers has always been based on the blues for the last thirty five years. It's always been the guiding line, except in the 80's and the band had to split. We've worked this "ABB trademark" for so many years that we're gonne keep it for a while.

Would you like to say something to your french fans ?
Derek : Il'd really like to come and play in France, whether with my band or xith the Allman Brothers Band. Even if we're havind tough times, with the music, we can unify, even with the french. You know, I din't need these "freedom toasts", I'ld have "french toasts". All these are kiddings (laughs).
Warren : Yes we'ld really like to come. Many musicians are not for this war as it doesn't go with being a musician and the sharing concept of the music. I try to understand the reasins of this war but it's kind of difficult (laughs).

 

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